In a clinical setting, health professionals make decisions about patient care every day. Evidence-based practice (EBP) is an approach or framework which helps guide this decision-making. The framework should inform care plans for your patients.
EBP refers to the interaction of three main domains:
For more information refer to our Evidence-Based Practice library guide.
Once you have developed a well-focused research question you need to either locate:
Use the map below to learn where to find information for background and foreground questions.
The Hierarchy of Evidence-Based Resources represents different levels of evidence available in clinical decision making. As you move up the pyramid, the quality of information increases but the amount of available information decreases. Finding the best available evidence enables you to make the best decisions for your patient.
Select the plus symbols below to learn more about the levels of evidence.
The above figure (DiCenso, Bayley & Haynes 2009, p. 100) has been adapted with permission from British Medical Journal, 2022
It’s best to start your search for information in resources found at the top of the pyramid, where the research evidence has been pre-appraised by health care experts. However, because there is less information available, you will need to search broadly, using one keyword at a time and gradually adding more.
If you are unable to find relevant information, move down to the next highest level in the pyramid. As you work your way down the pyramid, more research will be available so you can be more specific with your search.
Clinical guidelines are systematically developed statements to assist health professional and client decisions about appropriate health care for specific circumstances.
They are used to translate evidence into actionable recommendations that can be applied to clinical situations. The below sources specifically include Australian guidelines.
The below sources include International guidelines.
These international databases include some guidelines, amongst other resources:
Before you search, analyse your research question. Consider:
Find different word endings or spellings in databases by using:
Combine your keywords, using the connectors OR / AND when searching.
ankle OR "lateral ankle" OR "anterior talofibular ligament*" OR "tarsal bone*" OR bimalleolar OR trimalleolar OR bimalleolar OR "regio tarsalis" OR tarsus OR malleolus OR "distal tibiofibular joint*" OR "inferior tibiofibular joint*"
sprain* OR strain* OR injur*
physiotherap* OR "physical therap*" OR rehabilitat*
guideline* OR protocol*
Example Medline search strategy:
Search for terms guideline? OR protocol? in the title only. See Medline search example above
You can search in Google to locate clinical practice guidelines.
You are able to do a comprehensive search in Google by combining your keywords using the connectors OR / AND. Avoid using truncation (*) in Google; it is better to spell out the variations (e.g. singular and plural) you are searching.
("lateral ankle" OR "anterior talofibular ligament" OR “tarsal bone” OR “tarsal bones”)
(sprain OR strain)
(physiotherapy OR "physical therapy")
(“clinical guidelines” OR “clinical guideline” OR “practice guideline” OR “practice guidelines” OR “clinical protocols” OR “clinical protocol”)
Use these refinement options in Google to get more relevant results:
|Tools > All results dropdown arrow > verbatim|
|Tools > Any time dropdown arrow > custom range|
Settings > search settings > Region settings